In this 21st century, Indonesian live
in a world, which is intensely worrying, yet full of promise for
the future. It is a world of rapid changes, marked by economic crisis,
information flood through multimedia, destabilization of harmony
between local and global cultures, unhelpful onslaught of modern
technology on the natural environment, and unsupportive strike of
knowledge-based economy on traditional, low-educated or unskilled
workers, and of course an implementation of a regional autonomy.
Conditions in Indonesia are changing
rapidly. Teachers, parents and children face those changes in their
everyday life including in schools. Therefore, our students need
to learn how to live and to cope with complexity, uncertainty, and
diversity. Students face a diversity of experience of different
cultures - from the diverse ethnic groups in our society and from
technologically and globally driven changes to our culture. Expansion
of communication and information technologies leads to a competitive
world that increases a necessity of high qualification and skilled
employees. Thus, a teacher will no longer be a single expert of
knowledge in a classroom. Electronic learning and virtual class
provide ready access to support student learning.
Education plays a significant role in
the lives of children as they grow and develop. Education prepares
young Indonesian people to make the transition to an independent
adult life. If Indonesian wants access to the benefits of the knowledge
economy and has a democratic country of the future, education has
to ensure achievement of high competencies and strong character
or the school leavers.
The costs for education of the transition
to a knowledge economy and a democratic society include building
new skills and attitudes needed for work and a social life in the
information age. Providing a foundation for lifelong learning, character
building, problem solving and critical thinking and developing the
flexibility to manage change are key factors for curriculum reform.
Consequently, learning activities have to contribute to the foundations
for a skilled workforce confident in its ability to compete in future
The consequent of regional autonomy
for education is a district-based education planning, management
and quality assurances. This is not a simple shift from a centralized
to a decentralized educational planning and practices. A well-prepared
and well-informed district-based education system is not yet being
established. However, there is a possibility of controlling our
destiny and shaping our lives for better through national education
The most promising aspect in the national
education reform is the enhancement of national education system
to become a powerful and charismatic social structure that ensures
the development of a good quality of Indonesian citizen. Milestones
of the reform consist of equity and justice for education, learning
reform, management reform, empowering community participation, and
information technology (IT). The implementation of these milestones
are implemented in the following nine strategies: Implementation
of educational autonomy management,
1. Implementation of compulsory education,
2. Development of competency based curriculum,
3. Implementation of open education system,
4. Improvement of professional development,
5. Development of 'educating' school facilities and learning resources
6. Fair and justice educational finance system
7. Empowering community participation, and
8. Implementation of assessment and accreditation system which
empower students for better quality of learning.
For the purpose of the First International
Forum Educational Reform, I will focus my presentation on the development
of competency-based curriculum.
background on Indonesian education reform
The present system of educational reform
and practice cannot be detached from its historical contexts. The
development of Indonesian modern people is intermingled by the restoration
efforts in replacing the loss of valuable traditional values, gaining
national economy and developing science and technology. Here the
process of educational reform is a complex one. The main priority
for the educational reform is validation because of the heterogeneous
local conditions. Infrastructure and economic development are unevenly
distributed. Some interiors especially of eastern islands of Indonesia
are still living in the very poor conditions; therefore implementation
of unified centralized solutions in educational reform will vary
in different areas.
Historically, prior to the rule of Europeans,
education for people throughout the archipelago was relatively simple.
Children learned from parents or their elders to gain the practical
skills needed to survive. Cultivating fields, weaving cloth, and
building houses, cooking, and catching fish are examples of the
skills, which had been learned by the children without formal instructions.
However, very highly specialized lessons were given to children
of the aristocracy to instruct them in music, dancing, religion
and traditional leadership. Education mutated from domestic practices
for peasantry to the more structured padepokan (non-religious learning
center) in parallel with court education for royal families. In
the latter, these systems combined with Islamic elements shifted
padepokan to become pesantren (Islamic learning center) and Christian
schools. Later, Indonesianisation was introduced by encouraging
the use of the Indonesian language. This whole legacy of history
contributes to the rich contexts of the present education system.
Educational reforms in Indonesia from
1947 up to 1977 were closely linked to social and political reasons
in the reaffirmation of inculcating ideology and beliefs. The first
educational planning was designed in 1947, this planning was further
revised in 1952. The reform was aimed at meeting the need of a newly
independent country and a rural society. Developing patriotism became
the priority in this planning. Explanation of natural phenomena,
cultivation of aesthetics and eradication of superstition and violence
were among the goals of primary education. The system functioned
to inculcate particular values and beliefs thus; the development
of science and technology had less concentrated.
The emphasis on national ideology was concentrated in the sixties.
The reform was predominated by political disturbance situations.
The development of citizenship ideals and values of Pancasila were
the main interest in the 1964 curriculum reform. The development
of Bahasa Indonesia as a national language and the preservation
of Indonesian heterocultures situation were also emphasized. A bias
of curriculum materials was recognized not only related to colonial
heritage, but also to remedy an impact of Java centrism (Jasin,
1987). Four years later, at the 'new-order' government, the emphasis
on ideology was more significant. Developing 'Pancasila identity'
became the priority in the curriculum of 1968. Focus of the curriculum
was meeting the need of rural society, recognition of the paramount
importance of vocational skills and further education.
In 1975, curriculum reform placed the
significance of science and technology development. This reform
resulted in the 1975 curriculum, which was the most overloaded and
overdose, heavy contents and very objective exams oriented. These
influenced by instructional design paradigm, which heavily relies
on objectives, instruction and evaluation. The 1984 reform attempted
to simplify all of them. The recent reform of 1994 incorporates
technology through problem-solving, critical thinking, and inquiry
skills into classroom practice. In this reform nine years compulsory
basic education is implemented and the importance of human resource
development as an economic actor is emphasized.
of Education Reform
Through years of effort, Indonesia has
achieved almost compulsory of education at the primary level (six
years). At present, about 94.4 % (28.3 million) of the age cohort
is enrolled in national primary schools. The enrollment number,
however, is low for junior secondary school (54.8% or 9.4 million),
much lower for senior secondary school (31.5% or 5.3 million), and
very low for tertiary education (11.6% or 2.9 million).
In addition, support and services for
early childhood education are still limited. There are about 11.3
million children of 4-6 years of age that need to be supported to
have pre-primary education. The delay on early childhood education
development would deny the quality improvement of human resources.
Data on special education indicates
that support on this group has to be enhanced. Furthermore, data
on non-formal education shows that about 17 million people are functional
illiterates and about one million of children age 7-12 years is
drop outs from primary schools.
The problem of Indonesia National Education
System is also evident from a number of recent international studies
and comparisons. Indonesia's 12- and 13-year old students has very
low performance (Number 32 for science and 34 for mathematic) in
Mathematics and Science in the Third International Mathematics and
Science Study (TIMSS) that participated by 41 countries.
There are several significant reasons
that indicate necessity of education reform. First, are education
access and its implication for improving quality of life. As it
is indicated in the contexts of education reform, Indonesia has
not fully accomplished universal education at the primary and the
secondary levels even though basic education has been improve to
9 years and made compulsory. The dropout rate for each Primary school
is also high. The Government is concerned that children who are
not enrolled in schools are not being equipped with the necessary
skills and knowledge to be productive citizens in the knowledge
age. Education has to support economic growth and promote sense
of integration of Indonesian archipelago. In Indonesia, education
plays an important role to increase individual income, therefore
relevancy of education need to be improved.
Second, is preparing young generation
for the knowledge age. The Government recognizes that education
is the most effective long-term solution to achieve national development
and stability for the nation, to promote diverse local culture and
customs by broadening common core elements in curriculum. In addition,
education has to prepare young generation to participate in local,
national and global economies. In order to prepare young generation
to live in knowledge-based economy and democratic society, the youth
should have more engagement in building new skills and attitudes
needed for work and a social life in the knowledge. Consequently,
reform on learning is crucial for providing a foundation for lifelong
learning, character building, problem solving and critical thinking;
and developing flexibility to manage change. Curriculum reform has
to contribute to the foundations for a skilled workforce confident
in its ability to compete in future global markets.
Third, is the need to develop information
technology (IT). Up to this moment Indonesia has yet not a clearly
insisted on the use of information technology (IT) in its educational
policy. The provision of computers and peripherals to schools and
IT training for teachers and students are very limited. Because
of the knowledge age, IT development has to become a national agenda
for education reform despite of our scarcity of resources.
Four, is implementation regional autonomy.
Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 22, 1999, concerning Regional
Administration stipulates authority of the regions. Article 7, verse
1 of Law No.22, 1999, states that authority of regions includes
authority in all governmental sectors, except authority in foreign
policy, defense and security, the administration of justice, monetary
and fiscal, and religious affair. The consequent of regional autonomy
for education is a district-based education planning, management
and quality assurances. This is not a simple shift from a centralized
to a decentralized educational planning and practices. The government
needs to provide a well-prepared and well-informed district-based
Fifth, is improving madrasahs. The quality
of Madrasahs or Islamic religious schools which is part of Indonesian
national education system is, in general, lower than regular schools.
Besides offering Islamic religious education, madrasahs also provide
instruction based-on national curriculum. The national education
system has to be reformed in order to include issues on madrasahs
education which is held under the Ministry of Religious Affair (MORA).
Finally is moral development. Fundamentally,
education is about nurturing the whole person. A holistic education
encompasses moral, cognitive, physical, social, and esthetic aspects
of personal development. In the knowledge age the students need
to learn how to be life-long learners, be independent thinkers and
innovators. At the same time, students in Indonesia come from different
ethnicity, local languages, cultures, customs and religions. They
go to schools and share a common experience of growing up together,
studying together, playing together, and singing the national anthem
together. Although these are precious life experiences which help
in building emotional ties, identification, and a sense of commitment
to one another as Indonesian citizens, the student needs to value
their differences and learn how to live together with their different
interests. The development of moral education also needs to include
aspects of clean government and good governance.
Laws and Policies of National Education System
The national education system in Indonesia
is based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. Pancasila, the
five principles of Indonesian ways of life, is the philosophical
bases of the Indonesian State. It consists of two words, Panca means
five and Sila means principle. The five principles of Pancasila
1. Belief in the Supreme God;
2. Just and civilized humanity;
3. The unity of Indonesia;
4. Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising
out of deliberations among representatives;
5. Social justice for the whole people of Indonesia.
Therefore, philosophically, education
in Indonesia can be broadly defined as a means to develop Indonesians
whose daily conduct reflects the integrity of the Pancasila principles.
Educational right is stipulated in the
1945 Constitution, legal arrangements are explained further in educational
law, presidential and ministerial decrees. Every citizen is entitled
to an education and the government is responsible to provide a national
system of education for the people; these are stipulated in Article
31 of the 1945 Constitution (UUD, 1945). Thus by the 1945 Constitution,
the government is obliged to promote the intellectual life and national
culture of the people.
In 1989, Indonesia had successfully
reformed its education by launching Law of The Republic of Indonesia
Number 2, 1989 on The National Education System (NESL,1989). The
landmarks of the reform are in the following:
1. Articulation of rights of citizens
to obtain education regardless sex, religion, ethnicity, race,
social status and level of capacity; and to be treated in accordance
with her/his talents and interests.
2. The improvement of compulsory education from six to nine years
3. Decentralization of curriculum with provision of local content
and adjustment of national content to local situation, environment
Establishment of the National Education Advisory Board.
According to NESL,1989, Article 3, "[the]
National Education is intended to develop ability and to improve
the quality of life and the dignity of Indonesian man in the effort
to realise the national development objectives" (Department
of Education and Culture - DEC, 1991, p. 4). The aim of national
education is articulated in Article 4 as follows:
The National Education is aimed at elevating
the intellectual life of the nation and to develop the complete
Indonesian man, i.e. one who is devout and God fearing, with high
morality, possessing knowledge and skill, who is physically and
mentally healthy, who is of stable personality, independent and
has a deep sense of responsibility towards the society and the nation
(National Education Law No. 2 of 1989, Article 4, DEC, 1991, p.
The education system also strives to
create a patriotic spirit, strengthen love for the fatherland, enhance
the nation spirit, social solidarity and awareness of history and
national heroes, and create forward-looking attitudes. Creativity,
innovative thinking, and future-orientation are expected to be generated
by teaching and learning processes in order to achieve self-confidence,
'learning culture', independent or autonomous learning (Ministry
of Education and Culture - MOEC, 1995).
Despite the almost perfect national
education aim in the Law of The Republic of Indonesia Number 2,
1989 on The National Education System, this Law does accommodate
these following aspects:
Enhancement of national education system
to become a powerful and charismatic social structure that ensures
the development of a good quality of Indonesian citizen.
1. Principles of education for all
and all for education.
2. Regional autonomy and district-based education management as
indicated by Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 22, 1999,
concerning Regional Administration
3. Greater involvement of community, and
4. The inclusion of democratic principles in education.
E. Formation of the
Committee on Education Reform
There is an institution that functions
to involve the community in decision making process in education,
this is called as The National Education Advisory Board (NEAB).
However to include more independent groups and greater participation
of the community, The Minister of National Education established
National Commission of Education Reform (NCER) and Committee of
Educational Reform (CER). The NCER is responsible to bring together
a long term national vision of education. The NCER has to submit
a national report to the Minister concerning a broad and long term
concepts, vision and mission of education which is written based
on current conditions and scenarios of the future. However, the
Committee of Educational Reform (CER) which was set up in February
2001 responsible for more operational, technical, and situational
tasks comprises of academic paper, draft of the propose education
Law and government regulation, and policy paper. Basically the CER
has to study whether Law of The Republic of Indonesia Number 2,
1989 on The National Education System (NESL, 1989) should be improved,
and if so, what form and timeline it should take.
The Committee of Educational Reform
was set up to recommend whether NESL,1989, should be improved and
if enhanced, what form of the propose Law it should change. In doing
so, the Committee will examine:
How NESL, 1989, implementation could
1. Fulfillment of human rights
2. Democratic education
4. Learning reform
5. Management reform
6. Development of new Indonesian national identity and integration
7. Development of information and communication technology, and
The appropriate balance of responsibility
between regional and central government as the implication of Law
of The Republic of Indonesia Number 22, 2001 on the Regional Autonomy.
The views of the different communities on education reform by polling,
dialogues on TV and other electronic media, consult with communities,
government and non-government organizations and people assembly;
1. The required framework for education
reform include examination of past trends and future educational
needs of Indonesia with its diverse social, economic and geographical
environment, introducing new elements and timeline; and
2. The experience of other countries which have recently reformed
their education by examining relevant and useful adaptation to
the Indonesian context.
F. Review and
The Committee adopted a multi-channel
approach in eliciting feedback from the public. The Committee held
meetings within the Ministry of National Education, other relevant
ministries and institutions, Ministry of Law, people representatives,
universities, non-government organization, prominent public figures,
community leaders, interest groups and members of the public through
a series of discussion sessions in order to gather the views of
The Committee met four times per week
and held dialogue/feedback /review sessions with various groups
and individuals for about nine months from February to December
2001. The Committee has now completed draft of academic paper and
draft of proposed educational law and its government regulation.
The committee is supported by substantial team.
G. The Strategy
of Implementation Education Reform
There are nine strategies for implementation
of education reform. These strategies are designed in order to realize
educational vision, mission, and objective. The nine educational
development strategies, namely the following:
1. The implementation of educational
2. The Implementation of compulsory education,
3. The development of competency based curriculum,
4. The implementation of open education system,
5. The improvement of professional development,
6. The provision of educational school facilities and learning
7. Fair and justice educational finance system
8. Empowering community participation, and
9. The implementation of assessment and accreditation system which
empower students for better quality of learning.
In this paper, I would focus on the
development of competency-based curriculum. Indonesia needs to reform
its national curriculum and evaluation in order to raise educational
standards across the nation. Higher standards in education will
contribute to the growth of a peaceful, democratic, cooperative
and competitive society, and so to the welfare of all Indonesian
For the first time, the reformed curriculum
will establish standards for students' learning through the grades
of national schooling. Parents will know how well their children
are performing by comparison with others across the nation. Schools
will be able to evaluate and report on their efforts in reaching
National standards will enable the introduction
of a curriculum that incorporates the diversity required by the
1999 State Guidelines of the Government of Indonesia. The national
standards provide a framework that gives overall unity to the curriculum.
The curriculum can then accommodate the diverse range of educational
facilities, cultures and students' abilities found throughout the
nation and the education system.
Moral education needs to be strengthened.
The Indonesian curriculum has always emphasized moral education
as part and parcel of our national identity. But this is a period
of social change, within Indonesia and in the global society that
increasingly influences all nations. Moral education must meet these
and future challenges.
Global changes also have a profound
influence on the economies of nations. More and more, new industries
are based on knowledge and high levels of skills. There is ample
evidence that shows that successful nations are the nations with
educated citizens. Diversified curricula with high standards of
learning, morality and accountability will increase public satisfaction
with Indonesia's schools.
Indonesian present curriculum is overcrowded
and overloaded with subject matters. It needs to be simplified.
The efforts of teachers and students to cover too many subject matters
will lead to the neglect of deeper learning. As human knowledge
grows, it becomes more and more necessary to learn how to learn
and to understand the major concepts by which knowledge is organized.
The curriculum has to focus on fewer concepts to achieve greater
depth of understanding.
The goals of learning to do and learning
to relate to others require a more active approach to learning.
Although some students seem to thrive on mastering large bodies
of facts and passed pencil-and-paper exams, the great majority learn
by being active and drawing on their experience. In reality, all
students benefit from an active approach that presents students
with questions and problems to be formulated and solved.
Learning to relate to others and 'learning
to be' have particular relevance for Indonesian education. As well
as learning to know and to do, Indonesia's citizens of the future
must learn to develop a strong work ethics and to lead moral and
healthy lives. Reform must strengthen these aspects of learning
throughout the whole curriculum
The present national curriculum does
not allow and cater sufficiently for the diversity of the Indonesian
societies. A reformed curriculum must leave more scope for locally
developed curriculum. But local curriculum must also fit harmoniously
with national standards and national priorities. A dynamic balance
then must continuously be searched between 'similarities' and 'differences'
for the realization of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).
In order to implement lifelong learning,
it is proposed to:
1. Develop a national competency-based
curriculum and assessment framework designed to maintain unity
and allow for diversity;
2. Develop systems of public accountability and quality assurance
that will increase public satisfaction with education;
3. Decentralize aspects of management in order to make the best
use of the available resources.
The national competency-based curriculum
will be a framework that sets out what students are expected to
achieve in each grade. Each level of competency will be a step in
students' progress towards higher levels of competence in key areas,
such as moral education, language, mathematics, science, technology,
social studies, arts and physical education.
The definition of student competency
at each grade will be expressed in general terms. They will therefore
allow for provincial and local differences in subject matters as
well as for differences in local facilities and students' abilities.
But, it will always be possible for students, schools, districts
and provinces to measure their own performances against national
standards of competence.
The framework will include reformed
methods of assessing students' achievements. It will provide ways
to strengthen teachers' abilities in the assessment of classroom
activities. It will also continue to provide for examinations at
key grade levels, based on the competencies expected of students.
And it will enable regular monitoring of and research into the achievements
of the national education system.
The information gathered by these means
will be helpful to parents, the public and policy-makers. It will
give parents a clearer picture of their children's progress. It
will give communities and the public at-large an indication of the
quality of the education system. Moreover, it will provide policy-makers
the evidence needed on which to systematically improve the quality
of the education system.
To make the most of the curriculum's
flexibility, there will be a planned introduction of school-based
management concepts and principles. This will allow schools to choose
and decide the best ways on the effective utilization of the available
resources in meeting their particular needs, policies and priorities.
The foundations of reform in universal
education explore and empower the potentials and talents of children
based on the four pillars: learning to know, learning to do, learning
to be, and learning to live together, to live with others.
The incorporation of the four pillars
of learning into the curriculum means that the curriculum should
be based on basic competencies as already mentioned above. A competency
is a statement of what a student should be able to do consistently
in a distinctive part of the curriculum and at a specified grade
level. It shifts the emphasis from what is in the syllabus to what
information a student has learnt and is able to do accordingly.
The teacher and student therefore know what has to be achieved and
how the effectiveness of the learning can be assessed. In language
learning, for example, the syllabus sets out what grammar and other
skills are to be taught whereas the competency states how well students
should be able to write using the grammar they have been taught.
Designing the curriculum as a framework of competencies has two
advantages. First, it puts a clear emphasis on learning, i.e. information
acquired is for formation, reformation, and transformation of perceptions
and personalities Second, it is flexible which gives plenty of rooms
to learn and to re-learn lifelong.
Competencies can be set out as a framework within which the subject
matters can be flexible. Some competencies, such as many in mathematics,
will involve knowledge and skills that are common to all schools
everywhere. But other competencies can be achieved using subject
matter that suits the nature and resources of a province, district
or locality. Students in geography, for example, can practice the
skills of geographical investigation (the competency) by studying
the details of their local industries (the content). Competencies
also allow for elective studies and extension studies to be included
systematically in the curriculum.
The subjects to be included in the reformed
curriculum will be an important topic for public discussion and
debate. There is a lot of public dissatisfaction with the large
number of subjects in the present curriculum. There is too much
details to be memorized (overdose) and not enough focus on understanding
and analysis. The curriculum, like a plant, must be pruned to its
essentials so that it will be more robust and fruitful.
It must be recognized that the most enduring results of learning
are the ability to think, to communicate (to live together), to
act ethically (to live with others) and to go on learning. The curriculum
has to provide space not only for acquiring knowledge but also for
developing those enduring abilities. The subjects must therefore
be pared down to the essential knowledge. Furthermore, they must
take the local conditions into account so that they are relevant
to the daily lives of all students.
The designers of the reformed curriculum
will be guided by public debates on these pertinent issues. Do people
agree that the curriculum should be simpler and allow for deeper
learning? Are there subjects that should be cut down or perhaps
combined? Do learning in pair and small groups help the development
of empathy and cooperative spirit? Do the learning programs designed
to inculcate the sense that in this interdependent world, we must
compete in order to cooperate and cooperate in order to compete?
Curriculum framework should endeavor to find the right balance between
cooperation and competition.
The national framework of competencies
will by its nature enable standards to be developed at key points
in students' progress through the various elements of the curriculum
over the twelve years of schooling. Standards summarize the typical
performances of students in specific parts of the curriculum at
a certain grade level. Data from national examinations, tests and
surveys, combined with international data will be used to establish
standards. Expected standards of moral behavior, civic behavior
and work ethics will also be included.
The purpose of establishing standards
is to improve the overall quality of education for all Indonesians.
All schools will be expected to reach and where possible to exceed
the standards. The reforms in curriculum, assessment, teacher development
and school management will support these efforts.
It is recognized, however, that the facilities and the learning
materials available to schools are varied and often very limited.
Provinces and districts, therefore, need standards that are realistic
and relevant to them and that will guide schools in their task of
achieving national standards.
The Administration's education reform
agenda is comprised of nine components, many of which would be implemented
after the New Education Law is approved by the parliament. In this
proposed new Education Law, accountability and high Standards has
to be proved by all level of institutions from the central down
to school levels. The central office, province, districts, and schools
must be accountable for ensuring that all students, including disadvantaged
students, meet high academic standards. The central government must
develop a system of sanctions and rewards to hold districts and
schools accountable for improving academic achievement. The competency-based
curriculum is designed in order to increase high standards of students
and provide skills and knowledge for coping with changes in the
Name: Dr. Ella Yulaelawati
Education Background : Ph. D.
(Education) - University of
Present Position: Deputy Director
of Pre-Primary and
Primary School Curriculum & Project
Manager of Curriculum Development
National Office Of Research and
development Ministry of National Education
Republic of Indonesia
Work Experience: Related Employment
Secondary Teacher (1981-1982)
Curriculum writer & research (1983-present)